Zombies, zombies, zombies. We honestly think that if a zombie apocalypse were to happen now, we would be pretty well prepared. What with action, strategy, puzzle, and defense games–and even zombie exercise apps–we can’t think of any zombie situation that we aren’t prepared for. Now we’ve got House of the Dead: Overkill – The Lost Reels to show us what a zombie invasion would be like if it took place in an old-school exploitation film.
House of the Dead is a bit of a throwback. It’s a foul-mouthed, bloody as hell, on-rails arcade shooter that gives you an unrelenting stream of disgusting creatures to shoot, maim, and blow up. You play as one of two characters who have to sludge knee-deep through two carnage filled maps and 10 levels stuffed with more undead strippers, bikers, construction workers, nurses, neon lights, and bullets than you’ve probably ever seen in one app.
There’s not a whole lot of originality here, but what it does have is an exciting atmosphere, a fun grindhouse movie presentation, and some really disturbingly amusing dialogue and zombie design. Have you ever seen a ZILF before? You will in House of the Dead. You’re probably going to be horrified by how much you’re going to be laughing and how much fun you’ll be having doing things you probably shouldn’t be enjoying this much. You even get bonuses for the more violent you get with your killing spree. This is a game that’s wrong in all the right ways.
The game also plays fairly well. The controls can seem a little jumpy when you first start off, but it was designed to be like this. And once you get used to it and learn how to use the weapons, you’ll be mowing down the unfortunate undead like you were born for it.
But House of the Dead’s enjoyment is extraordinarily short lived. The two maps you get initially can be blown through in less than an hour. There is a third map and two additional characters you can unlock, but you have to pay an extra two bucks to get them. And even though you gain in-game currency at a pretty decent clip to buy and upgrade weapons, you can’t possibly gain enough in the game to get the really powerful weapons and upgrades without spending even more real money. To get the full game experience you have to spend seven bucks at a minimum, if not more, for an experience that amounts to little more than an expansion pack.
Make no mistake about it, House of the Dead: Overkill – The Lost Reels is an absolute blast to play. The controls could be better, but the presentation is great, the story is fun, and the action is infectious. We just wish there was more. More zombies, more levels–more everything. For a game that can be beat before you finish watching an episode of The Walking Dead, there’s just not enough here to justify the expense you have to lay down.